By far, the top question I’ve been asked this week is how to turn a PDF worksheet into an interactive assignment that can be posted to Google Classroom. I use Adobe InDesign to create most of my PDF handouts and, unfortunately, there’s no converting an Adobe file into a fully editable Google file. Apparently, those software companies don’t want to play nicely.

There are several workarounds, but most are cumbersome or require third-party apps that some school districts block. I’ve always suggested that folks turn the PDF into an JPG image, drop it onto a Google Slides page, and then draw text boxes on top of the image that kids could fill in on the screen.

Amy Almada, problem-solver and teacher tech goddess, just took this process next level by modeling the simple path and teaching us her special “background” trick. Continue reading

Coronavirus, be damned! It’s week 33 of 36 and I am going to finish this project. Three more video lessons uploaded to the YouTube channel this week: Continue reading

The pandemic is spreading quickly and it looks like my initial two-week Coronavirus lesson plan isn’t going to be enough. Since my brain’s default is worst-case-scenario mode, I’m now expecting all of our schools to cancel in-person instruction for the rest of the spring semester.

Will this actually happen? I have no idea. What does this mean for our students? Again, no idea. I’ve never taught in a 1:1 school and my online learning experience is limited to a couple of dismal professional development courses. Not fun. And, yet, fun is exactly what we need right now. Continue reading

Hope you and your family are doing well as we all figure out how to become homeschoolers. Three new mini-lessons that might help: Continue reading

What a week, eh? Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re all scrambling to figure out what the next month or so is going to look like. If you’re in a school closure zone where not all students have internet access at home, this two-week homestudy calendar might be helpful. If you’re in a community where the households are all wired, feel free to link to any of my high school English on YouTube mini-lectures as you build your lesson plans:
Playlist of mechanics, usage, and grammar practice lessons
Playlist of college-prep vocabulary lessons
Playlist of Freestyle Friday lessons on a variety of English/Language Arts skill builders
Continue reading

UPDATE: This blog post was written at the beginning of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. Obviously, things have changed and many of us need lesson plans beyond just two weeks. If your school has been closed indefinitely, I hope this bundle of 12 free emergency distance learning activities is helpful. Take care of yourself, your family, and your students. Love you! Laura

Brace yourself. It’s coming. If it’s not already in your emailbox, it’ll be here soon – a message from your principal requiring two weeks’ worth of lesson plans that can be accessed remotely in case your school closes as part of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak.

Whether the virus actually shows up on your campus or not, it’s important we all stay calm. I’m the first to acknowledge that it’s annoying to write lesson plans you might not ever use, but it’s also wise and really shouldn’t take too long to pull together. If the ick hits the fan, you’ll be glad you have a plan. Continue reading

I’m all about later sunsets, but why can’t daylight saving time happen at 2 p.m. on a Friday? Yup, clocks spring forward in the U.S. an hour tomorrow. Super. Continue reading